How to Find the Right HVAC Certification Class near Elk City Kansas
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next action is to locate an HVAC technical school near Elk City KS. But with so many to select from, how do you decide on the ideal one to obtain the training that you require? A number of future students will make their selection based solely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. While these are relevant considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Some of the other factors that you need to look into are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and other criteria will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to select an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and a/c technician does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Tech in Elk City KS
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, however every state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Acquiring professional certification is not compulsory, but a voluntary means for Elk City KS HVAC specialists to establish that they are highly skilled and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are many respected certifications within the industry that are available. Here are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency exam and may be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are provided in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing might be required in your area, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it’s imperative that you pick an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the program you decide on prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes
There are several alternatives available for HVAC instruction in a technical or vocational school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, usually completed in as little as 6 months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a short summary of each credential offered near Elk City KS.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more extensive background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring two years to complete, some degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more for a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the right credential program will be based on what your future career objectives are, together with the time and money that you have to invest. One possibility is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Elk City KS, subsequently returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Attending an HVAC school online is one approach to attaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. Many also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be attended via the internet, this option may be a more accessible solution for many Elk City KS students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are more economical than other traditional alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Elk City and study supplies can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your active lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Schools near Elk City KS
After you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you wish to obtain, either online or on campus, you can start to limit your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Elk City KS area and across the Country to select from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of key qualifiers when making school comparisons. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the first two variables you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you need to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC vocational programs in the Elk City KS area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Make sure that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it can help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate might indicate that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It could also suggest that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Elk City KS HVAC employers to help students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC trade programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Elk City KS HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC specialist you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Elk City KS HVAC contractor if they can give you some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Elk City KS home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to a few of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Elk City KS, verify that the schools you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Elk City KS?
Elk City, Kansas
Elk City is located at 37°17′25″N 95°54′37″W / 37.29028°N 95.91028°W / 37.29028; -95.91028 (37.290235, -95.910244). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.34 square miles (0.88 km2), all of it land.
As of the census of 2010, there were 325 people, 132 households, and 91 families residing in the city. The population density was 955.9 inhabitants per square mile (369.1/km2). There were 172 housing units at an average density of 505.9 per square mile (195.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 93.5% White, 0.6% African American, 0.9% Native American, 0.3% Pacific Islander, 0.6% from other races, and 4.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.9% of the population.
There were 132 households of which 31.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.5% were married couples living together, 10.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.8% had a male householder with no wife present, and 31.1% were non-families. 25.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 2.89.
Pick the Right HVAC Trade School near Elk City KS
Finding the right HVAC training program is an important beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling industry. As we have addressed in this article, you should select a vocational school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC field. Other things to search for are ample practical training and modern facilities. You should go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling options and whether or not evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Elk City KS.
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